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Recommended Instruments for Close Coastal Cruising (Day Sailing)

May 25, 2012
3,755
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
looking at the mona lisa in the louvre or looking at the mona lisa on a electronic screen is the same. right, there it is, same smile.
navigating electronically is just the same as navigating on paper. no difference. so in a classroom setting you will need a screen for each student, and the electric outlet for each student. and then pay the bill for the electricity the class consumed.
looking at the mona lisa in the louvre you can share with your family and friends. looking at the mona lisa on the little screens we use to navigate our yachts with the view to share , well, not so much.
the cost to get screens on these yachts is huge. the cost to have screens for each person on a yacht with family and friends , your crew is beyond what you all prolly willing to pay.
if the captain of his or her yacht wants to share the navigating with the crew, if the same captain wants to educate his crew on the skills of navigating, paper is cheep. real cheep!
no extra batteries, on wiring, no muiltible screens, no interfacing.
electronic nav toys are very expensive to buy and maintain in the salt air.
paper is cheap. easy to use, easy to teach with. a look out is cheap, if they brought their own beer. if you sail shorthanded and your really rich then go buy all these toys and install them and the extra powering systems to make them work.

now, lets talk sails. brand new, high tech, well shaped sails. ............
i suggest that you don't spend $0.10 more on electronics until you have fitted out the boat with fresh sails. sails are what sailboats are all about.
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,666
TBD Looking for my next boat CT
@Kings Gambit I think learning how to plot on paper charts and calculate set/drift are helpful sea skills. That knowledge also helps one understand what goes on beneath the covers inside CPs and navigation apps. It also helps build ded-reckoning skills, if it should ever be needed.
As for ditching paper - I can get faster, more accurate plotting using electronics, and that lets me focus more on situational awareness in-general (through other observations). IMHO I'm a safer captain using e-nav than paper-nav. I have enough redundancy on my boat to not worry about the electrons failing (CP, phone, tablet, handheld battery GPS/plotter). Probably the bigger concern is GPS jamming or a DOD decision to take GPS offline, but if that happens we're all in deep :poop:
 
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Jul 27, 2011
4,454
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
As for ditching paper - I can get faster, more accurate plotting using electronics, and that lets me focus more on situational awareness in-general (through other observations). It causes me to have the opinion than I'm a safer captain using e-vav than paper-nav. I have enough redundancy on my boat to not worry about the electrons failing. Probably the bigger concern is GPS jamming or a DOD decision to take GPS offline, but if that happens we're all in deep :poop:
As I said, I use e-nav on both devices (plotter and iPad) quite a bit; in fact, most of the time. Why not? But that’s not my point. It’s not a matter of e-navigation versus paper-navigation. It’s a matter of having both capabilities aboard, versus having only the one. Regardless of the number of e-devices, all of the position information displayed emanates from the same one source. More importantly, a source totally outside your ability to adjust or control. Chart piloting is more fundamental. You can acquire information on your own via line of sight if near shore. It may be analogous to manual bilge pumps versus electric ones; lead lines versus transducers, VHF radios versus cell phones, and so forth. Life rafts are equipped with spare batteries for a radio, signal flares, and a small signaling mirror. None fail in the same manner. The mirror, probably not at all. That is, IMHO, redundancy divided between independent systems affords the greatest “safety.”

A couple of months ago I needed help from a rescue vessel out of Avalon. I could not give my GPS position b/c my vision was too impaired. They sent a link to my cell phone that would give my position, but it would not work b/c no internet service at my location. Finally, they had me count on the VHF while getting my bearing by RDF. I knew my position well to advise the range. Now, who uses that these days? Three systems but only one, the most basic, actually got the job done!!!
 
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May 25, 2012
3,755
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
paper charts are dead. i love my paper. always put it out on the nav table. but it's dead. a cheap handheld will take you around the world.
son in law just bought a tesla sedan with the self driving option. don't need paper in the car either. he let me take it out for a spin on a curvy, sporty, road. it did it all. it was fun to watch. no dash on that thing.
paper is dead. hell, most don't helm the boat much anymore. me, i love to drive. i can still give a better ride than the auto-helm.
paper is dead. RIP

jon:cool:
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,454
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
paper is dead. RIP

jon:cool:
Latin has been a dead language for centuries, but apparently many people still learn it, and use it. In any event, as long as NOAA publishes its updates to Mariners, most paper charts remain viable. They may be obsolete from a usage perspective, but hardly “dead.”

From your perspective, the art of sail, i.e., sailing, died with the onset of steamers, and especially with the Diesel engine. Particularly in commercial shipping. Who needs it? Why are we still doing it?, it’s a dead art of times past. If you want to go somewhere on the water get a power boat. Don’t use a bicycle or ride a horse, drive a car or an ATV. Forget drawings or paintings, use your cell phone’s digital camera. Forget the train, fly.:ass: Why waste all this time mastering the obsolete arts?
 
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May 25, 2012
3,755
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
i love paper. i thought NOAA announced it is to stop printing paper.

my father knew 24 languages. studied under Albright at john hopkins. didn't help his navigating. :poke:
 
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Jul 27, 2011
4,454
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
Good reason to get your chart booklet now while they are still available for only $100.;) Also, it appears that one will be able to get paper versions of the e-charts as they are updated. That’s good news. Imagine not having a hard reference point outside of the digital world.:yikes: This is proceeding similar to electronic newsletters. Yeah, but you can still generate a paper copy for anyone wishing one. We can also do away with brick and mortar libraries. Don’t need to go there. Don’t need hard paper books any longer, just log on. Or, get a Kindle version on-line.
 
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Jul 27, 2011
4,454
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
“Books, young man, books.” ... “This is where the law is. Not in that homogenized, pasteurized synthesizer.” ...

Samuel T. Cogley, Attorney at Law, Star Trek Original Series, Court Martial, 1967.

We have arrived there, although no WARP drive yet:confused:.
 
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TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
2,628
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
When the map printers were finished, they decided to post their map in the town square.

They put an X for the square and wrote in big letters: YOU ARE HERE.

Rome map_.jpg


Then the next villa wanted a map, so the map printers, now sellers, drew another one with an X, then another one with an X and so on.

The map printers were very busy and lived very well.

Then man made GPS and a little boy showed the map makers where he was on the map which was in his little pocket. He was the X

Their eyes grew wide as the little boy showed them, he had all the maps in his pocket, and when he was there, he was the X.

The map sellers soon went on unemployment.
 
Oct 4, 2008
134
Hunter 36 Mulberry Cove Marina
Depends on your definition of "coastal cruising". I have been coastal cruising (within 30 miles of coast) for over 40 years and have never owned AIS or radar. Have a compass, chart plotter, fixed & handheld VHF radio, Delorme In Reach for over night passages, tethers, jack lines, flares, off shore PFD... You can easily spend $10k on clutter you never need. Keep it simple and you will have more fun.
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,335
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
When sailing, or coastal cruising, we all want to feel comfortable. That feeling is in part dependent on our own confidence in our skills of sailing the boat or cruising the waters we frequent. The many tools or gadgets that tempt the sailor in the magazines, websites, forums, etc are all appealing to satisfying that feeling or fear.

I read an article in Sail Magazine about a sailor Matt Rutherford (Pay Attention to your Mission-critical systems) who sailed around North & South America in a 27ft Albin Vega. When he returned home to the Chesapeake almost nothing worked on the boat. No engine, no electronics... What did work was his Monitor Windvane and his sails. In fact the sails looked in such good condition he was asked if they were recently purchased.

What enabled Matt to return to his home port was his focus on keeping the "Mission Critical" equipment operating.

Perhaps identifying those issues that concern you would help to create a modeling tool identifying mission critical systems needed on your boat.

As an Example:
In the local waters I sail, we have confined space with ocean going ships transiting the waters at speeds exceeding double or more than my cruising speed. Having tools that help me identify this traffic provide me a better situational awareness. This keeps me safer on the boat. Such tools are an AIS receiving system found now in VHF radios. I can look at a 360 degree view of the area surrounding my boat a various distances .5, 1, 3, 6 miles, identify commercials vessels SOG, COG, CPA and other data like Name and radio call sign. This information is also available on some pleasure craft. Having that info at my finger tips can improve my situational awareness. But make no mistake this is just a glimpse. I still need to be vigilant. Not every boat transmits this information.

Mission Critical are those systems I need to powers the boat, to steer/navigates the boat, and what is required by regulation such as a VHF radio.

Beyond Mission Critical is all wants.
 
Oct 4, 2008
134
Hunter 36 Mulberry Cove Marina
Here is a link to an excellent article that answers your question. Don't spend your hard earned $$$ on stuff you don't need.
 
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dLj

.
Mar 23, 2017
1,690
Belliure 41 Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
Hello,

I was wondering what sensors/instruments would be most recommended for coastal day sailing. I just stepped up to a Catalina 30 and I am placing the boat at a marina along the Jersey Shore, I plan on cruising along the coast, maybe traveling across the Delaware Bay and into the Chesapeake via the C&D Canal.

Currently, our boat has one digital display for a Raymarine Autopilot (ST6000?), and it has a Windex on the top of the mast. I have a new depth-finder/fish-finder/GPS-Chart device that I plan to install and use it via an in-hull install versus thru-hull.

I am generally a novice sailor. I don’t race, and I am not interested in racing. I just enjoy being on the water and sailing in peace and quiet. If the boat is moving in the general direction I want to go, I am happy. Our first boat was a Catalina 22 that lacked electricity, but we used it to great joy for five years. It was in a very tight river outside Philadelphia that provides a poor sailing environment. Last summer we stepped up to a Catalina 30, which was a bit overwhelming at first, due to its size, many different components, and mechanisms, a diesel motor, electricity, etc. This next summer, with the larger boat, I am looking to go into the ocean for more wind greater distance runs. I don’t want to go overboard installing expensive instruments that I don’t need or would not use. Also, in a weird way I don’t want to become dependent on electronics. However, I do want to know the things I should have. At this time, the Depth is of most interest to me.

Thanks,
Snoopy.

[mm1]
@snoopy_ The only thing that I like to have I don't see on your list is a way to measure miles sailed. But you might be able to do that through your GPS device, if so, then you have more than you need. I don't see a compass listed, but it's hard for me to imagine there isn't one on the boat.

I don't think you need anything more, except to go sailing...

dj
 

CarlN

.
Jan 4, 2009
567
Ketch 55 Bristol, RI
1. Depthsounder - you plan to cruise in waters with lots of shallow water
2. Chartplotter - iPads aren't bright enough to see in the cockpit on a sunny day. Garmin's are the simplest to use and have all the functionality you need. Paper charts don't show where you are, which way you're going, or how fast you're going.
3. Basic VHF Radio. Buy something on sale
4. AIS Transponder (Receive and transmit). You plan to sail in waters with lots of commercial traffic. A Catalina 30 going 5 knots can't get out of the way of a 800ft container ship going 22 knots. You need the ship to see you - but these that means the AIS display since every big ship is using it. Being run down by a large ship is my #1 nightmare. Plugs right into your chartplotter. Any Class B is fine. Call these folks for suggestions: AIS Transponders
5. AIS MOB (Man Overboard). A game changer for my #2 nightmare - MOB. Clips to your lifejacket. Makes every AIS screen within 8 miles go nuts with an alarm and a flashing drowning stick figure right on their screen. Ocean Signal rescueME MOB1 Personal Locating AIS
6 You will be in VHF and cell phone range so an EPIRB really isn't necessary. But in an emergency where the cell phone or VHF doesn't work, just activate the AIS MOB.
7. Wind instruments - really nice to have but cost $1000 plus installation. A Windex at the top of the mast works almost as well with a little practice. Something like this will get you wind speed Kestrel 1000 Wind Meter
8. Autopilot - nice to have but expensive. Maybe add it a year from now.
 

Ward H

.
Nov 7, 2011
3,025
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
For much of the Jersey shore area like Barnegat Bay, or even the ocean near the coast, I think you’d be fine with just the depth finder / GPS that you have. Depending on the sophistication of the GPS you can use Navionics for a little help in tricky sections like inlets. Delaware Bay and the C&D have much more shipping traffic, so at least an AIS receiver might be worthwhile there. Does the GPS have any kind of NMEA networking to interface to an AIS receiver?
@snoopy_ I agree with @Davidasailor26

#1 Depth Finder - To get to an inlet from any marina your going to have to navigate narrow channels and none of the inland waterways have deep water. So a depth finder is a must. I prefer a stand alone depthfinder display rather with the chart plotter displaying depth as a back up.

#2 Chartplotter - A CP will most likely have GPS built in so it will show speed, location and most if not all will leave a track showing where you have been. This can be handy as once you make it out an inlet and sail up or down the coast.
When you are ready to return you can then follow your track back into the inlet and to your home port. A CP that uses Navionics maps is valuable as inlets can have shoaling and changing channels. You can update Navionics maps with user edits that show changes to channels and markers due to shoaling.

#3 Mobile Device - A mobile device running Navionics or another chart app is a great back up to the CP. I always have my phone running Navionics as a back up to my CP. When I had a Garmin CP, the maps were OK for the general areas of the Barnegat Bay but when navigating the newly dredged Double Creek Channel, the Garmin map was worthless. I resorted to Navionics on my phone which had current mapping of the channel. Returning back through the channel I was able to follow my track as recorded on my Garmin.

#4 VHF Radio w/ DSC - I'd get a portable first, then add a fixed mount with remote in the cockpit when you start sailing outside of portable range with the coast guard. When you add the fixed mount, get one with AIS receiving capabilities. If your daysailing along the coast you will probably be staying well west of the shipping lanes. The Ambrose to Barnegat lane is 13 miles or so out from Barnegat Inlet. Ships won't be coming around blind corners like @jssailem, @LeslieTroyer and I encountered in the Pac NW. They demonstrated the importance of AIS RX and TX in that area. For day sailing along the coast AIS TX is a luxury. Wait until you start reaching further out or making longer trips down to the Chesapeake for that expense.

Wind instruments are nice to have but not necessary. Another luxury that can make sailing more fun but a Windex works just as well to give wind direction. Learn to read the wind strength by looking at the water.

Not really under the category of instruments but a tablet with apps for weather and currents will be invaluable when planning a trip out into the open water. You'll want to know what is happening on the ocean before heading out. Wind strength and direction, currents through inlets, waves/swells, forecast, etc. Knowing what is out there before venturing out will allow you to prepare for conditions or decide to stay in the protected waters that day.

I am generally a novice sailor. I don’t race, and I am not interested in racing. I just enjoy being on the water and sailing in peace and quiet. If the boat is moving in the general direction I want to go, I am happy.
Based on your comments, may I suggest you put your boat on the Barnegat Bay and sail the bay for a while. The bay offers some great sailing, allowing you to gain experience as a sailor and learn the ins and outs of your C30 before heading out into the ocean. You may find it fits your type of sailing much better than the open ocean and when you are ready, you can jump out for a day sail along the coast.

I sailed my first boat, an O'day 25, on the bay for 5 years before moving up to a C30, on which I just finished my 3rd season. I venture out the inlet occasionally but find plenty of good sailing on the bay.

Feel free to PM me your number if you want to talk about the bay or C30.
 
May 19, 2016
102
Catalina 30 Riverside, NJ
Ward,

Thank you for the reply, it was very much what I was looking for. I don't want to purchase and install something I don't need or won't use.

First, I do have some experience sailing. I was in the Navy and have sailed around Bermuda and Puerto Rico while stationed there, but that was long ago. I also owned a Catalina 22 for the past five years, sailing it out of a slip on the Delaware River near Philadelphia most weekends. Sailing on the river required a lot of tacking, strong currents, many wind changes from the land, etc. Last summer a C30 came up for sale in our marina, which was in good condition and was a good deal for us to upgrade. After completing a survey we made the purchase.

Second, I probably made the mistake of booking the marina in Cape May too quickly. I had some fear of Barnegat Bay hearing that it was shallow and still had debris from past hurricanes, so I stayed clear of it. I probably should have received some first-hand knowledge of the bay before deciding against it. I was looking for a marina that had the necessary depth for a sailboat, fairly quick access to the ocean, was relatively close to the beach, but also had a pool and social life for those days when sailing was not good or advisable. Cape May appeared to tick all those boxes. We drove down to check them out, made a decision, and booked it. It is expensive. ;)

I now need to plan the trip down the Delaware River to reposition the boat to its new home (May), but I have a lot of work to do over the winter before it gets there. Some of that work involves electrical and equipment installation and/or upgrades, so I wanted to know what was necessary and advisable. The trip down Delaware will be through busy shipping lanes so AIS would be nice, but not sure I can pull it off.

The boat is a 1990 TR, which does not have many instruments on it. Based on your comments, I think I will add a dedicated depth instrument and thru-hull transducer; The boat has a broken thru-hull transducer for depth and speed; the wires are cut (Airmar), so I may be able to purchase one that fits the current thru-hull for quicker installation. I also have both a fixed and handheld VHF; the handheld is new, the fixed is old, so I doubt it has AIS.

Thank you,
Snoopy
 

Ward H

.
Nov 7, 2011
3,025
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
@snoopy What keel do you have? Mine is a 93 TR with wing keel.
I haven't heard of any debris left over from the hurricanes being a problem. The bay is relatively shallow but plenty of sailboats with 5' draft sail it with no problems.
It sounds like Cape May and the marina fits your requirements and gives easy access to the ocean so you'll have fun.
Pretty sure the size of the hole required for the transducers will be the same. I replaced my speed transducer and it fit the same hole. Should be 2".
I bought my boat in late 2017. I've done a lot of re wiring, plumbing etc. All new DC and AC panel, upgraded charging system, etc.
If you need any help or have questions on your projects, let me know.
And if you need crew for the trip down river, let me know. Haven't made the trip yet so I am interested.
 
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